The required experiential component of Professional Science Master's degree is an internship-or capstone experience for those with relevant work experience - with an off-campus business, industry, government agency, or non-profit that is directly related to each student's PSM coursework background and interests. This should be a unifying experience in a real world work environment where technical problems are solved with teamwork, communication skills and decision-making involved in the process. This experience replaces the master's thesis requirement as the culminating part of the PSM graduate program, integrating what students have learned in the classroom with their ability to function appropriately in a professional environment.
A minimum of 3 credits of internship or capstone experience (PSM 5000), must be part of each degree program. This is equivalent to 3 months part-time work (i.e., 20 hours/week) or 240 hours of work required to complete the program. Internships taken during the summer may have to be conducted during both summer terms to complete the number of required clock hours.
While this experience usually is not undertaken until students have completed the first year of the PSM program, they should begin to consider possible internship opportunities as they begin their studies. Their major faculty advisor and other professional contacts can guide these efforts, but each student is responsible for finding and negotiating his or her internship.
Students with current or previous work experience in the area of sustainability or natural resource management may elect a capstone project in place of an internship where an unsolved problem, or a portion thereof, which is important to the capstone experience provider (this can be your current employer or another agency) will be addressed and a potential solution(s) provided. Generally capstone experiences address solvable problems for which time or funds have not been available to seek their solutions; teams of students may work on a capstone project as long as the contributions of each student are clear. The point of the capstone experience is to develop a possible solution, not to actually carry it out.
For all internships, students must submit a proposal (Intern Project Document Sheet), developed in collaboration with the industry supervisor, to the major advisor and graduate committee for approval. A Verification of Internship Form must also be completed by each student intern.
Students electing a capstone experience will complete and submit the same forms as those electing internships, with the exception that they will complete and submit a Capstone Project Document Sheet instead of the one used by interns.
Students are expected to keep in contact with their industrial internship sponsor at minimum on a weekly basis (depending on whether he or she is your daily supervisor), and student should contact their major advisors at least twice during the internship to ensure that the project is on-track as outlined in the proposal. Major revisions to an internship program may require a new proposal.
Industry intern supervisors are asked to complete the Supervisor's Evaluation Intern Form for the student intern at the end of the internship and return it directly to the student's major advisor either by fax or mail.
A written final report detailing internship duties and the student's evaluation of how they helped him or her develop professionally will conclude the internship experience (see Intern Final Report Checklist ). This will be presented to the student's internship supervisor and major advisor for transmission to his or her graduate committee.
At the intern's supervisor's discretion, he or she may also be required to present a final oral report of the internship experience at the work place. Students also will be required to present such a final oral report to their graduate committee (which includes the major advisor) following acceptance of the written report as satisfactory by the student's graduate committee. Both written report and final oral presentations will help students develop skills in professional assessment of their experience, and help with business and technical skills in written and oral communication.
Further details pertaining to the internship and capstone experiences Internship Guidelines for the Professional Science Master's Degree Program
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